Jason Van Duyn Biography

Jason Van Duyn was raised in Edenton, North Carolina, where he began woodworking in his dad's shop at a young age.  He graduated from North Carolina State University in 2005 with a degree in Materials Science and Engineering.  Jason has a very broad fine woodworking background working in the areas of historic restoration, custom furniture, cabinetry, custom doors/windows, and architectural/interior millwork.  He has been exclusively producing sculpture since 2008.  Jason and his wife, Meredith currently live in Raleigh, NC.

Although a woodworker by trade, Jason focuses primarily on the creation of thin wall asymmetrical, irregular, and off balance natural edge turned sculpture, referred as hollow forms or vessels.  He also produces items in the areas of urn artistry, functional wood turnings, and some consignment furniture.  Nearly all of his turned work comes from one solid piece of wood.  That wood is reclaimed from old homestead, farms, churchyards, fallen trees, and storm damage that otherwise might be discarded as yard waste or burned.  The majority of the wood he uses are species of southern hardwoods, primarily from central and eastern North Carolina.  Each piece made strives to capture the story of the tree's history.  Jason finishes each piece in a manner to show its natural character and color.

To quote the artist...

"I am a maker of contemporary turned woodwork, with the focus of my work in the creation of asymmetrical, irregular, and off-balance natural-edge turned wood sculpture, urn artistry, and functional wood turnings.  My artistic viewpoint is influenced heavily by how and where I was raised (a small, historic coastal town in eastern North Carolina) as well as my background in making traditional period furniture.  I come from an agrarian background so I appreciate the natural beauty of trees and the natural environment.  From my period furniture experience I have developed a strong appreciation of proper form, quality, and the developing of skill through handworking methods.  Thus I look to continuously improve my turning, hollowing, and finishing abilities, and I want that skill to be evident and visible in my work.

In some ways I consider myself a naturalist, or perhaps a landscape painter of the wood turning arena.  I make thin wall hollow forms from solid reclaimed domestic Southern hardwoods.  I focus on simple shapes and proper proportions so as to draw attention to the tactile fell, subtle textures, natural patternings, tones, and characteristics of the wood itself.  As I reclaim and salvage nearly all the wood I use, all of my work is created largely out of a desire to show a broader view of the grain and history of a tree.  Most people's understanding of what wood looks like is more commonly a few fractions of an inch deep and at best and inch or so of the tree.  Thus I want to reveal the hidden beauty of creation, specifically in trees, and put attention on the things that I no part in creating.  Shaping turned sculpture straight from the tree, with a greater degree of depth, allows me to develope objects that capture a more comprehensive view of any given species of tree.  Peeling away the outer layers of what is commonly visible to everyone leads to a unique experience even in the simpler and functional pieces.  Therefore I like to include the naturally formed voids or areas of bark inclusion in my work, as well as worm holes and spalting.  Natural finishes are also a must as I want the true look of the wood to stand out."